Oklahoma children donate fire rescue truck to New York City

Friday, May 10th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Spirit of Oklahoma will soon be rolling through lower Manhattan.

The firetruck, presented Friday by Oklahoma children to Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, bears the names of 10 New York City firefighters who helped in the Oklahoma City bombing rescue effort _ and who died on Sept. 11.

``A lot of great men from New York came and stood by our side and really, really helped us out,'' said Jon Hansen, a retired Oklahoma City deputy fire chief. ``And I had all of them sayin' 'y'all' before they left.''

The audience, filling West 10th Street in front of the Squad 18 firehouse, included schoolkids from the Intermediate Elementary School in Fort Gibson, near Tulsa. They donated more than $500 toward the purchase of the half-a-million-dollar fire rescue truck to be used by the Manhattan emergency rescue squad.

Squad 18 lost seven men on Sept. 11. Ten of the 343 New York firefighters who lost their lives that day also had helped Oklahoma City after the bombing there on April 23, 1995.

The Oklahomans called their gift to New York ``a life-saving memorial.''

The red-and-white truck, shining under the May sun in the West Village, bears an inscription that says, in part: ``Because of the senseless acts of terrorism on 4/19/95 and 9/11/01, a bond between our people has forever been forged. May we find strength from one another always.''